French sales fall 15% in August, as chip, pandemic uncertainties continue


PARIS — New-car registrations in France fell by 15 percent in August compared with the same month last year, as the chip shortage and continuing coronavirus uncertainty hindered the market’s recovery.

There were 88,066 sales in August 2021 on 22 selling days, compared with 103,631 sales in August 2020, which had 21 selling days, industry group CCFA said. August is traditionally a slow-selling month in France, with much of the country on vacation, but it was the first time the French market recorded August sales of less than 100,000 units since the recession years of 2012-14. 

The market is still up 13 percent for the year, with 1.12 million sales through August.

Nearly all brands lost volume, but a notable exception was Volkswagen, which increased sales by 40 percent. Other volume brands showing growth were DS, up 15 percent; Mini, up 7.4 percent; and Dacia, up 3.7 percent.  

Stellantis group sales fell 29 percent, with Peugeot losing 34 percent, Citroen down 20 percent, Opel down 35 percent and Fiat losing 45 percent.

Renault Group fared relatively well behind Dacia’s gain, losing 4.3 percent for the month. Renault brand sales fell by 9.1 percent.

VW Group was in positive territory for the month, fueled by the namesake brand’s strong performance. Spanish brand Seat lost 44 percent and Czech brand Skoda fell by 20 percent. Audi lost 9.1 percent.

BMW sales were down 6.1 percent. Mercedes-Benz lost 30 percent. 

Ford sales fell 47 percent.

Among Asian brands, Toyota sales held relatively steady with a 5.2 percent decline. Nissan’s volume continued to fall, losing 48 percent on sales of 1,137 units. In comparison, Nissan, which is Renault’s alliance partner, sold 4,546 cars in August 2017 in France.

Hyundai sales fell 12 percent; Kia lost 27 percent. Suzuki was down 14 percent.

Light-commercial vehicle sales were down 17 percent for the month, but remained 23 percent higher than in 2020 for the year.

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